The most metal-poor damped Lyman $\mathsf{\alpha}$ system at z $\mathsf{<3}$: constraints on early nucleosynthesis

P. Erni, P. Richter, C. Ledoux, P. Petitjean
2006 Astronomy and Astrophysics  
To constrain the conditions for very early nucleosynthesis in the Universe we compare the chemical enrichment pattern of an extremely metal-poor damped Lyman alpha (DLA) absorber with predictions from recent explosive nucleosynthesis model calculations. For this, we have analyzed chemical abundances in the DLA system at z_abs=2.6183 toward the quasar Q0913+072 (z_em=2.785) using public UVES/VLT high spectral resolution data. The total neutral hydrogen column density in this absorber is
more » ... bsorber is logN(HI)=20.36. Accurate column densities are derived for CII, NI, OI, AlII, SiII, and FeII. Upper limits are given for FeIII and NiII. With [C/H]=-2.83, [N/H]=-3.84, and [O/H]=-2.47, this system represents one of the most metal-poor DLA systems investigated so far. It offers the unique opportunity to measure accurate CNO abundances in a protogalactic structure at high redshift. Given the very low overall abundance level and the observed abundance pattern, the data suggest that the chemical evolution of this DLA system is dominated by one or at most a few stellar generations. With reference to numerical model calculations, the chemical abundances in the DLA system are consistent with an enrichment from a single starburst of a zero-metallicity population of massive stars (10-50 M_sun) exploding as core-collapse Supernovae (SNe), i.e., the classical Type II Supernovae (SNeII), and possibly as hyper-energetic (E>10^51erg) core-collapse Supernovae, so-called Hypernovae (HNe), as well. In contrast, models using non-zero metallicity progenitors or other explosion mechanisms, such as pair-instability Supernovae (PISNe) or Type Ia Supernovae (SNeIa), do not match the observed abundance pattern.
doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20054328 fatcat:riosaenmiballbmjunrung2xye